Due to poor planning, I had to walk a half mile or so to my motorcycle tonight before going home. Not a big deal, but it was after midnight, I was tired, and still had a few things to do. Helmet in hand, I started walking down the sidewalk towards the bike.
A thought struck me: this could be the last time I ever walk. Motorcycles are a lot safer than most people think, but people do get paralyzed on them sometimes.
You never see it coming. You wake up, you think about unimportant things like breakfast cereal, and that night you're in the hospital, wondering if you're going to walk again. That's how it happens in real life.
As I walked, I thought about how good it felt to be walking. It's pretty amazing just to have the human ability to balance on two legs. And then there's the breeze, the sound of my rubber soles scraping against the concrete, the illuminated houses passing by. It felt great to move my legs with such precision and ease.
I got on my bike and drove really carefully. I thought about how it could be the last time I ever ride a bike. When I first started riding, every trip was the most fun thing I could possibly imagine. Now it's a chore and I'd take Uber everywhere if I could afford it. But tonight I enjoyed the ride. It could be my last, after all.
Photo is someone doing the bungie jump in Macau. I'm heading nearby to HK in a couple weeks!
I just recorded Superhuman By Habit as well as my upcoming book on audio! Book is ready to go... just have to make the cover and do some groundwork for promotion.
Nice. I love those kinds of moments of awareness and appreciation, and I always wonder afterward, "Why don't I do this more often?" It's such an easy thing to do, but somehow it's an even easier thing to forget to do. I've had some degree of success with getting myself to experience this kind of thing more often by using randomized reminders on my phone, but there's probably a better way to go about making it into a lasting habit. Any ideas?
Around ten years ago, a friend of mine bet me that he could run a mile faster than I could. We each had a month or two to train, and then we met at the high school track near my old house. He ran first, and did the mile in seven and a half minutes. That was actually faster than I'd run a mile before.
What would my strategy be? Well, the oval track was a fourth of a mile long. I figured that I'd run my usual pace for the first three laps, and then for that last lap, I would just murder myself on the pavement. May as will give it everything I've got, since there's nothing after the finish line.
When I hit he finish line, I had to grab the bleachers to avoid falling down. My legs were shaking, my head was pounding, and I was gasping for breath. I had won, running a 6:59, my fastest mile ever.
A few nights ago it was eleven pm, and my non-negotiable computer-off time of midnight was drawing close. I'd had an amazingly productive day, and the thought crossed my mind that I'd already gotten enough done during the day, and could afford to take a break for the last hour.
Walking has been a big part of simplifying my life. I don’t think there is anything simpler than grabbing a pair of shoes, or going barefoot, and walking to where you are going. At first I found the experience of walking to be incredibly painful. My legs tightened up and hurt for days at a time afterwards I realized this was because I didn't have any leg muscles, and my walking had forced me to start building them up again. I also find walking relaxing and meditative. I'm a thinker, and love to spend my time pondering different ideas or concepts, and figuring out how I could use those ideas in the real world. Walking allows me to do this without any real distractions. I get to have my body moving which helps to disperse built up energy, and I don’t have to worry about the things related to driving.
There are numerous people in history who have spoken about walking and all the benefits it provides. Henry David Thoreau would make himself some breakfast, then choose a direction and walk for hours. He would explore the wilderness around his cabin. Thomas Jefferson said that the morning is for learning different ideas, and the afternoons are for long walks. He felt that it was a good habit of able bodied men, and that with time, you could greatly increase the length of your walks. These walks seemed to help clarify the thoughts of these great thinkers, and enable them to better put those thoughts into words.
The next benefit of walking is the muscles and posture that it helps to develop. The habit of sitting all day has been disastrous to our health. For me personally, it had caused a utter lack of back muscles. So when I overexerted my back, I pulled a bunch of weak muscles in my back, causing long term damage. I believe walking, and standing, help to build all the muscles in your body because you don’t have anything to support yourself or lean on. I think other things should be done to build muscles as well, but walking certainly doesn't hurt.
I love how simple walking is for me. I no longer own a car, and it has been quite a while since I owned a bicycle. I find it such a relief not to have to worry about looking after these items. I no longer have to pay for insurance, gas, repair bills, parking passes, or have the general responsibility of car ownership. Even not having a bicycle is nice. I don’t have to worry about people stealing my bike, or figuring out how to fix it when it gets broken, or getting run over when I'm biking on the road. It is extremely liberating to just walk, not having a care in the world.